A brief review of King Kong musical I caught with family in 2013 at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne.
Though King Kong Live on Stage wasn’t my first theatrical experience, it was my first in Australia. I had enjoyed Don Giovanni in Singapore so much previously and was really looking forward to share the joy with my family on my next theater visit.
Directed by Daniel Kramer, King Kong musical is a sneak peak of King Kong’s life on the Skull Island. Equipped with a 6 metres tall puppet, laser lights, acrobatic dancers and surreal special effects, King Kong is not your typical musical. Straying away from the conventional musical, King Kong emphasizes on theatrical stunts rather than impactful music. It promises a spectacular production. However, for a theater event that enjoys great success under the belt of modern musical, King Kong musical is quite a disappointing one.
Firstly and most importantly, is with regards to its music. As a world-class production, Marius de Vries’ music lack power and impact as much as it lacks its contemporary elements. The lyrics of the songs and audience cheers were all drown in the loud music, too. Perhaps, it is all on its ambitious effort to combine traditional and contemporary elements. It would have otherwise be an enjoyable show that appeals to a larger audience. It’s a shame.
The second aspect is on the character development and narrative. Though it showcases complex technical achievements, immersive background setting and detailed soundscape, the lack of depth of its narrative and connection established with characters exceeds its remarkable technicalities and design. It was difficult to relate to and understand the characters as they weren’t given enough time to develop. There was no room for emotional empathy. Perhaps because it is assumed to be a well-known tale that there are many loopholes in the script writing.
Thankfully, there were enough dose of wit, spectacular design and skillful dance moves choreographed by John O’Connell to get us through the second act.
Overall, I think King Kong musical is an impressive attempt showcasing a spectacular representation of the popular tale. It might be eye popping, but musically it is not jaw dropping enough for a second visit. And certainly not a good choice of event to introduce to first time theatergoers.
Find out more information, the complete program and tickets, visit King Kong Live on Stage website.